Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Invisible Man

In Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, the main character repeatedly falls to the stereotypes defined by the white society for black men.  He finds himself getting seduced and sleeping with white women, fighting with violence, and attempting to appease the white man ignorantly like the sambo.  Is it the fate of the black man that governs him to fall to these stereotypes?  No.  And he proves that at the end when he takes on the invisibility and burns his past in stereotypes.  

Henry IV

In Henry IV, King Henry is fated for uprising because of his illegitimacy as ruler.  As the uprisings begin, Prince Hal decides that his fate is to meet Hotspur, his rival for his father's (The King) affection.  In effect, by falling to his fate and cutting down Hotspur in battle, Hal proves that fate does not apply to everything and the leadership eventually passes from his father to him.

Wuthering Heights

In Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, the main character is a shady guy named Heathcliff.  Right from the start, there seems to be a strange fate about him.  He is picked up by a well-off man named Mr. Earnshaw.  As readers, we are not told where he came from or why he was picked up.  He is treated badly by a boy named Hindley for being a "low-class" boy simply because of the way he looks.  We are told that he is dark, but not necessarily that he is black.  He remains a very mysterious character in that sense.

His fate, it seems, is not to succeed in the high-class life.  However, it seems to be proved throughout the novel that he is not governed by this fate.  As he falls in love with Hindley's sister, Catherine, he strives to become that superior type of person.  Mysteriously, he becomes wealthy, he develops a strong, tall stature that people submit themselves to.  But as Lockwood, the tenant who rents a place to stay at Wuthering Heights now under the ownership of Heathcliff, says, he is only respectable in his "dress and manners."  Therefore, after all, Heathcliff fell to fate.  

Oedipus Rex

In Greek literature, fate plays an enormous role.  The Greeks undoubtedly believed in fate and, as seen in Oedipus Rex, that it could not be outrun.  But does this belief ring true for the modern world, in which we feel as though we have the freedom to make our own choices and shape our own futures?  No, fate does not control our existence.  We make decisions everyday that change the direction of our lives.

Regret is a big indicator that fate does not govern our futures.  It's not an exaggeration to say that all people have had those "what ifs" and "Shoulda, coulda, woulda" moments in their lives.  We know that if we do things differently, we would have a different outcome.  Life would be pretty pointless if every path we took led to the same destination.